Ther is another method to achieve pretty much the same as shown in the first part, I’m showing you this first before going into advanced weaving techniques. I’m calling it a cardboard loom. In the old needlework books, this is touted as a the way to do teneriffe lace (which is basically needleweaving in the round) and a very similar process is used for regular needlelace.
I am trying to keep further instalments of this tutorial series a bit shorter than the first for the sake of people with slow connections. I hope you don’t mind.
- two pieces of cardboard or thick, stiff paper
- Gridded paper, or epuipment to draw your own grid on the cardboard
- Sturdy thin sewing thread (buttonhole machine thread woll do fine)
- Some thread or yarn suitable as warp (preferrably somewhat sturdy)
- a sharp needle and optionally a pricker or a timble
- Any threads you want to use for the actual weaving
- A (blunt) tapestry needle for weaving
Draw the outline of the finished piece onto the gridded paper, and if you want the design. Put all three layers together. Now you need to sew backstitches arround the whole outline. One back stitch means two warp threads, chose the distance between them accordingly. Use the gridded paper to make the distances evenly. This is much easier if you pierce the layers first with a small pricker or a slightly bigger sharp needle using a timble. Next you can thread your loom like you would do with a pin loom, lacing the warp thread through the back stitches.
Closeup to show the treading process.
Now you are ready to start weaving. The first and last 3-4 rows need to be woven in canvas binding (one over, one under) to keep the finished piece from falling apart. At the sides you pick up the backstitches together with the last warp thread, that will keep you from pulling the fabric out of form.
When you are all done, you insert a sharp letter opener or kitchen knife between the two cardboard layers and cut them apart. Your finished work should fall off them then, all you have to do is pick the remnants of the backstitches out of it and hide all the loose thread ends.
The advantage of this method over the pin loom is the fact that it is highly portable, you can carry it in your purse and work on it whenever you find time. Also, the fabric isn’t easiely pulled out of shape because you can anchor it in the backstitches at the sides.
The disadvantage is that it takes much more time to set up than a pin loom.
On my way home I missed the tube by half a minute, and had to wait for the next one about ten mins. I alleviated my boredom by fiddling with my camera. It is amazing what you see when you really look. I find these structures fascinating, will probably get back to them next time I do something describing stones.
The needleweaving tutorial? Next instalment sometime on saturday, I promise. There was so much interest in it that I decided to improve it before posting.
Caveat: I never had any formal training in any form of weaving. This is what I learned from experience and random websites. My main inspiration for weaving was/is the website of Marla Mallet, but the piece I did recently was done without looking again at it first, and it shows.
I know the real weavers will probably cringe at this, it is not supposed to be a surrogate for real weaving on a loom, just a way to make tiny pieces of constructed fabric as you need them. It also lets you wild things that wouldn’t be possible on a real loom, but that would be for yet to write part 3. I think it isn’t more slow than cross stitch or needlepoint stitches.
- a piece of styrofoam or similar material big enough for the piece you want to weave
- normal tailor’s pins (lots of them)
- thin and sturdy thread for the warp (crochet cotton size 20 or something similar)
- any thread you chose for the weft (too bulky probably won’t work)
- a big, blunt embroidery needle
- for many weaving patterns you can use a shuttle if you have one, for others not
First, decide how big your piece is going to be, and draw it onto the styrofoam or onto a piece of paper you pin on top of it. If you want the ends of the warp form a fringe, then you have to add the length of the tassels to the length of your piece.
Then, put up the two rows of needles over which you put the warp. I like to space them so that I can do an evenweave using the warp yarn. I can always weave over more than one warp thread for other patterns. the needles should slightly lean away from the work so the warp won’t slip off them when manipulated.
Next, the warp is put on the needles. This is done using one continuous tread, simply run it to and fro, it goes arround the needles to be ancored on both sides.
This shows the pin loom all set up (and the first few rows already woven).
When the warp is in place, you can start weaving. If you want a tasseled fringe simply start doing your pattern where later the fringe is supposed to end and the woven fabric should begin.
If not, you need to weave 3-4 rows in canvas binding (needle/shuttle over one thread, under one thread, over one thread…). Do this first thing on both ends of the piece, that will make the last few rows easier to do. Push those towards the needles as hard as you can. If you have done this you can take the finished piece off the loom without worrying about having it fall apart, and there’s no need to knot it off (there won’t be leftover warp thread for this anyway). If you don’t do that the weft rows will slip off the warp in the end.
If you have been planning for a fringe you need to knot it off like any woven fabric coming off a regular loom.
Now you are ready to begin weaving your desired pattern. Here I weave two over- two under – to produce plain weave that hides the warp completely.
The next picture shows canvas binding (one over,one under). It should be close to evenweave when well done.
The next one is done one under – three over – one under in one row, and in the next basically the same just offset one thread, so the next row would be one over- one under -three over – one under and so on.
One under, two over, one under – the same one tread offset in the next row; the classical twill pattern. (light beige and dark brown patches)
two under, tree over. two under, offset one thread in the next row. For more broad diagonal stripes with the warp thread showing more clearly. (Reddish brown patch)
There are indefinite possibillities for constructing patterns just going under-over different numbers of threads in different rows. In this piece I have deliberately kept things simple because it is meant to show patches of soil and dirt. handweaving.net has a plethora of such patterns, and you can always make up your own, or google.
To all who worry about my haphazard working style: Part two is already written, I’ll post it soon. I could write more, about warp in more than one direction, and cardboard looms, but I should better get on with the stitch explorer challenge I think.
I was delighted to read through the replies and discover many have already stitched as kids like me. I never actually did needlepoint. Counted surface embroidery is (or was) part of the German elementary school syllabus, so I couldn’t avoid doing it. I was the sort of really active child they’d probably stuff with ritalin today, so doing counted work or following the instructions of a kit was something I would never, ever have done in my free time. But when I was provided with craft materials and otherwise left alone I could get rather creative. The following two projects are probably not my very first embroidery, but the earliest I could dig up spontaneously.
The first piece comes with a story. I did it in third grade. It was the time before christmas, everybody was supposed to bring a drawing or painting to school that shows an animal that was present at the birth of Jesus. Now I wanted 1) create something that is good for a scandal and 2) make it as beautiful as possible to make sure it is put on display with everything else. The result was this spider. The boys laughed, the girls were grossed out, the teacher was half desparate, half amused about freaky little me. Of course I explained that I was sure that there were spiders in that stabble. My mum gave me the materials and reminded me to weave in all the treads ends, but the design was mine alone. It is silver thread and 6-stranded cotton on hessian.
If I remember right the next one was a school project, and even earlier than the spider. We were allowed to do our own (bad) design and stitch away without bothering with fancy stitches, so I enjoyed it. It is big, about DIN-A-3. It is wool on hessian.
I did more embroidery and other needlework all on my own as a kid, but sadly much of it never really got finished. A bad habit I’m still struggling with at times.
Well, for those who don’t know: it’s a German punk band.THE German punk band. They exist since I was a kid and I discovered them sometime in my teens. The memories!
I went to their concert yesterday. It was so great. The crowd was singing almost louder than the band, I didn’t really see much because we were way way behind the last wave breaker. The place was so fully packed, I wouldn’t have wanted to be in the front rows. But the atmosphere was the most wonderful I ever experienced at a concert. There were people from about 6 to 60 and everybody was daning, singing and having so much fun. The newspapers write they sold 8300 tickets, and all of them where gone months ago (got mine on the first sale day).
We went there by train, so we went to a club after that, and got home 6 a.m next day. I didn’t get any really good photographs, was too busy dancing and singing, and more far away from the stage than I usually am in smaller halls.
The stage, and a look into the crowds
The support act, ‘The Living End’. More rock than punk, but good enough to make everybody go crazy. Will have to check them out.
Here they are, the heros of that night, Die toten Hosen.
This is a little part of my assisi embroidery. I have used needlewoven bars wildly crossed to add to the general encrusted look. I’m rather pleased with this, and I think it is easier done than tons of french knots and buillon stitches. (although I’m afraid of the latter no more after this piece)
This is a turk’s cap lilly from my garden. They take 5 years from seedling to the first flowers, so I treasure them very much. I like them more than most of the big colourful everyday garden flowers.
The needleweaving month is over in a day or so, and it was a technique I really loved to revisit. Time really has flown this month, and despite the netbook I couldn’t photograph and blog stuff as fast as I was making it. I have one more needleweaving tidbit to show, and a two-part tutorial for weaving on a pin loom. If someone wants to see it, that is.
I think I will post the last bit of needleweaving this evening, when I’m done sorting my photographs and postpone the tutorials to the catchup month, which I’ll really need to finish the assisi and the trellis stitch pieces.
Here I show you two old experiments with needleweaving which I didn’t like enough to finish.
A cardboard loom, with warp threads in all directions. It is about ATC-sized and done in pearl cotton #8, I found I didn’t like the colours.
In this one I practiced needlelace stitches on a coconut fiber background similar to my needleweaving tree, the round thing is teneriffe lace, which is techically a form of needleweaving.
Look what I did on sunday! This stitch explorer may challenge really is coming along nicely. I’m planning to use this for something bigger, but I don’t know yet if this will work or not.
My little netbook is really improving my blogging drive – I can sort and prepare photographs on the commute now. I’ll havwe to be careful that this isn’t eating too much of my stitching time.
Sharon B is posting her actual stitching progress every week and has invited others to do the same. Sadly I never seem to get this done before saturday. Well, here is what I stitched since last wednesday.
My needlewoven tree on coconut fiber background is done so far. I don’t know weather I’ll leave it as is or add some more.
By needleweaving I was inspired to needleweave on a little pin frame. I should have taken the time to make a cardboard loom which can be taken on the train. This is how far I got. I will post details sometime soon.
On the commute, I continued working on my assisi piece. I am through 3 1/2 skeins of stranded cotton floss now, using 4 threads in a needle. I don’t know why this is so slow going, and I’m still not sure if it’s going to look good.